14 Words That LOSE Money

December 27, 2007 by  
Filed under E-Commerce Optimization

Dollar sign with up and down arrowsDuring the recent holiday shopping season I noticed many stores using terms that contradicted their intended purpose (to increase sales).

As I continued to come across these, it reminded me of a book I read years ago that said words are grouped words into two categories. Those which “Lose Money” and those words which “Make Money”.

Since that time, I have carried a “partial list” of words from each category with me and review them whenever I write. I attempt to make sure when I write and where appropriate, those words which are on the “lose money” list are not included in my copy, and at least some of those on the “make money” list are included.

In reviewing ecommerce sites this holiday shopping season, I noticed a number of words that fall on the “lose money” list being used without regard.

In some cases, it may seem unavoidable depending on the circumstance, I realize that. However, take note of the 14 “words that lose money” which I have listed below and the examples I show of how they may be rephrased to become “money words”.

If you are using any of these words in your store, you may be jeopardizing potential sales before you even have a shot at your real goal of making money. In effect, you are asking your customers to “purchase your product” by using contradictory words that actually lose money.

Here’s the list

  1. Price
    This may be one of those “unavoidable terms” and in fact is one that seems to be expected in ecommerce sites, however, it might be worth testing different terms, or leaving it out completely (instead of saying “Price: $xxx” consider just listing the price as “$xxx”). Again, this depends on the site.
  2. Cost
    Again, possibly another unavoidable term on an ecommerce site, but one that is worth testing.
  3. Sign
    Do you ask your customers to “Sign In”? If so, you could be scaring them away before they ever complete a sale. If you must speak in terms like that, consider phrases such as “Log in”, “For your convenience, enter your details below”, “For faster checkout, enter your information below”.
    (“Sign in”)
  4. Buy
    Do you have buttons on your site that say “Buy Now”? Consider altering those to something more friendly such as “Add to Cart”, “Add to Bag”, “Put in My Cart”. I’ve even heard conversion tests show that a phrase such as “Proceed to checkout” works (but have not tested it personally).
  5. Expensive
  6. Deal
    Instead of saying “weekly deals” “monthly deals” etc… consider rephrasing to use the word “Sales” or “Specials” instead. The word “deals” could imply the products on the site might be considered “cheap”. On the contrary, listing some products as deals could cause other consumers to think the rest of the products must be “overpriced” ordinarily. The ultimate perception is in the eye of the consumer.
  7. Sold
    Do you list products as “Sold Out”? If so, consider rewording to say “Out of Stock”, “Not Available”, or removing the product from your catalog totally until it becomes available again.
  8. Charge
    Do you say things like “Charge Information”, “Charge Card”, “Charge Your Account”, etc…? If so, consider rewording to something more user friendly such as “Billing Information”, “Credit Card”, etc…
  9. Try
    When cross selling products, do you say things like “Try these other products you may like”? If so, consider rewording to something like “Other items of similar interest”, “Other products you may also like” etc…
  10. Bad
    Examples of usage you want to avoid are “Bad Login” and “Bad Credit Card Number”. Reword to read “Incorrect Login” or “Invalid Credit Card Number”.
  11. Lose
    Under the right circumstances, saying “You cannot lose” or “You have nothing to Lose” might mean you have already lost. Rephrase to state a bullet list of customer benefits from the product instead.
  12. Complicated
    Instead of describing a product as “not complicated” say it’s “easy to use”
  13. Risk
  14. Obligation
    Watch out for the double whammy “Risk Free No Obligation” statements.

The above is only a partial listing of words to look out for. They are the terms I most frequently see mis-used on ecommerce sites.

The results you get will vary based on your target market, user demographic, product offering, and more. The key is test different variations against each other to determine which works best for your market. Use your imagination to find terms that more appropriately speak from the customers perspective and fit your needs, but don’t get too creative. That too can have an opposite effect.

Finally, remember what works in one market may not work in another.

Updated 2/10/08
I wrote another post recently to go along with this called 200 Words That Make Money.

Security Measures. Do They Really Boost Conversion?

December 4, 2007 by  
Filed under E-Commerce Optimization

Ecommerce Security and ConversionA big part of increasing conversion on an e-commerce site involves building trust and credibility with your customers.

After all, would you provide your personal information to a site that did not appear to be secure or which made you question its credibility? I didn’t think so.

Having said that, just how important is site security to sales conversion — and does it make a difference if you use a shared SSL certificate vs. a private one?

You bet it does.

Consider This…

Two different studies were conducted by two prominent companies.

One study by Forrester Research, Inc., uncovered a that whopping 84 percent of consumer survey respondents indicated they didn’t think retailers were doing enough to protect them online. The other finding from London-based TNS PLC, a market research company, found that 75 percent of online shoppers surveyed say they had abandoned a retail site due to security concerns. [Internet Retailer, March 2006]

For small to mid level retail companies with less brand awareness, the concern grows naturally higher.

Additional findings from the TNS PLC study referenced above found that, “when those customers who admitted to site abandonment were questioned further, 90 percent said they would have gone ahead with the sale if they had seen a recognized security marker.” [Internet Retailer,March 2006]

Trying to Save Money Will Ultimately Cost You Money

Unfortunately, in an effort to minimize expenses, many of these small e-commerce businesses escalate the inherent consumer skepticism by using a shared SSL certificate versus a private one. Although less expensive, shared SSL certificates force consumers to third-party websites for order completion leading to potential credibility barriers.

Besides a noticeable change to the domain in the browser’s address bar, using a shared SSL certificate also creates the following challenges to a businesses’ trust building efforts:
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Google Analytics Site Overlay Trick Exposed!

December 4, 2007 by  
Filed under Website Analytics

Google Analytics Site Overlay screenshotAs you may already know, Google Analytics comes with a report feature called Site Overlay.

The Site Overlay feature enables tracking of individual clicks on hyperlink URLs found on pages of your website. The report actually lays a “click map” over the pages of your site and allows you to track the exact links users click on throughout the pages of your website.

This can be very beneficial in determining what links convert to sales and which links are completely overlooked by visitors.

Knowing what links convert can help you determine if the keywords you use in the link convert, the location of the link converts, or both work together to generate sales.

All of this can help you organize your page to better speak to your visitors and give them what they are looking for, where they are looking for it!

However, the current Site Overlay feature has a fatal flaw.

Google Analytics Site Overlay Fatal Flaw Exposed!

As of this writing, the current Site Overlay feature tracks by URL not by location or keyword used, and it groups these results into one final metric — even if the link appears in more than one location on the page.

Why is this flawed?

Well, let’s say for example that you have the same hyperlink URL (pointing to the same product) using two different sets of keywords in two different locations on a page and want to test which location / keywords generate the most interest.

Although the locations and keywords are different, the hyperlink of each is points to the same identical URL (the same product page).

So, until this little trick was discovered, if you planned on using it to track how effective the location or keywords used in a link were, then you could forget it.
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